The recently released self-titled debut solo album from Welsh songstress Chez Kane (Kane’d) has been one of THE success stories of the year so far. With Crazy Lixx vocalist Danny Rexon working with Frontiers Music to scout and produce new artists, fate brought Chez to the attention of Danny and the rest, as they say, is history. The end result of the collaboration is a lean album, full of radio-friendly ’80s influenced melodic rock, the very definition of all killer no filler. Chez joined us to talk about the album and the whirlwind that is her life at the minute. Check-in with Chez below…
Your social media post this morning has pre-empted my opening question; I was going to ask if you’ve come down from cloud nine yet, but judging by your post this morning – you haven’t![Laughs] No, not quite! I still can’t believe what is going on, to be honest, and it’s just so surreal. I’m not going to lie! It’s so surreal!
I can only imagine! It’s been great fun watching your journey unfold on social media, it must have been special when someone posted pics of your album on sale in Japan?!
Oh my god, I know! That was a pretty insane feeling and it seems that the album is reaching out to people all over the world. What’s going on! I don’t know what’s going on! It’s unbelievable!
The album seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people, what do you put that down to?
I don’t really know, to be honest. There are a lot of bands coming out with new albums, all fantastic albums, but I know that a lot of people have hit on the more emotional kind of songs [on my album], and with the last year that we’ve all had I feel that maybe my music is a bit refreshing in the sense that it’s uplifting and maybe reigniting the love that people had for this kind of music back in the ‘80s. I hope that it’s the start of bringing it back because I feel that it’s been missed.
I had somebody write to me on social media today saying…” I don’t even have a CD player, but I bought your CD!”…and I just think that’s really cool! It’s really, really nice that people are buying it on CD when it’s mostly streaming nowadays. Vinyl is coming back though!
I’m sure that I noticed something on Frontiers social media that the album will come out on vinyl at some point?
Yes, I believe that Frontiers dropped a little hint a few weeks ago, I’ve had so many requests for vinyl, so many people have been asking me about it on social media. I think that because I’m a new artist on Frontiers, they didn’t know if the album was going to take off or not, so they just put a CD out, but now they’ve had so many requests, I don’t think that they can ignore it! And that’s a really good feeling! I think it will come out on vinyl later this year and I’m very excited about that; seeing it on vinyl will be insane!
The build-up to the album release has been hectic; video premieres, press, etc, now that the album is finally out there, what are the plans to keep the momentum going?
I’m just taking every day as it comes. I never plan what I’m going to do on social media to keep people interested and interact, it just happens on the day. I guess I feed off everybody’s excitement, I’m very excited as well, and if people want to see what I’m up to…even if it’s just me having a cup of coffee…then I’m going to post it! So I’ll try and keep the momentum up that way! And then hopefully I can get out on tour if covid settles, and then after that, hopefully, another album, and that would be awesome!
You are very active on your social media accounts, I think there were even a few recent posts where you took the time to answer every single person that had commented. It’s obviously important for you to keep that connection going?
Definitely, yes. I’ve got loads of people who have been there from the beginning when we started with Kane’d and they have followed us all the way through. It is a little bit manic at the moment and I don’t think that I’ve gotten back to as many people as I would like to, which is a bit frustrating, but I’m trying my hardest. Even if it’s a few days down the line, I’ll go on and try and answer everyone, then move on to the next one. I’m exhausted! But I think that it’s important to stay connected with people.
It’s a good exhausted though! It means that people are interested in you…[Laughs] Yes! I’m so excited that I’m hardly sleeping! It’s great feeding off everyone’s excitement and my mind is constantly on the go at the moment, I’m being told…”Cheryl”…yes, Cheryl, not Chez..”Cheryl, get off your phone!”
And it’s not just the UK, it’s worldwide, comments coming in from everywhere…
It seems to be spreading everywhere, and every day there seems to a post from somewhere new, someone reaching out from a new country…and it is pretty surreal. People everywhere are spreading the word about the album, and that is a really nice feeling!
It would be worse if no-one was spreading the word!
Can you imagine! I would be gutted!
Thankfully that’s not happened! You’ve just released the video for ‘Better Than Love’, where was it filmed?
We didn’t initially film a music video for ‘Better Than Love’, it’s actually B-roll footage from filming the video for ‘Too Late For Love’. It’s footage that wasn’t needed because we felt that the music video stood pretty well as it was, and the parts not used, worked well for ‘Better Than Love’. The scenes where I am writing in my diary, writing out the lyrics, those were actually filmed a few weeks ago at home, but the rest of it, filmed in Sweden as well.
The car in the video for ‘Better Than Love’ was so obviously not local! It looked incredible!
I know! It was so sexy! [laughs] It felt really cool when it turned up, I was like…”…this car is in my music video?!” It was awesome.
It certainly is awesome. How did Danny discover Chez Kane from Wales? Were you recommended you to him?
He found me! He was looking for a singer to front this project that he had an idea for, and I suppose that he went and looked where everyone goes to find talent: YouTube! He came across one of my covers, I think that it was ‘Edge Of A Broken Heart’ by Vixen, I think that I asked him and he said it was that one. He went on to message me and it all went from there really. It was pretty out of the blue and I’m so glad that I did YouTube videos of covers!
The importance of a strong YouTube channel winning through…
I didn’t think anything of it, to be honest, when I do covers, it’s just because I love the songs, and I like to challenge myself. I just did them for fun and didn’t think anything of it, but I’m bloody glad that I did them!
What was it like listening back to the album for the first time, start to finish?
Mind-blowing! I was really pleased, it was one of those moments where I was listening to it thinking…God, this is really good! I’m really enjoying this, but then I’m thinking…yeah, but it’s your voice, is it actually that good or are you just thinking that because you’ve been working on it, and you’re proud of it? And you’re hoping that people are going to see it as you see it, so I messaged Danny and said…” Danny, are you happy with it?” and he said that he was very happy with it, so I was like…” Yes! I can be happy!” It’s been an absolute dream working with Danny.
It’s quite an instant album, keeping it at ten tracks means it’s all killer and zero filler, it gets in, slaps the listener about the face, then gets back out again before anyone can get bored…[Laughs] I love that! So many people have said that it’s a no-filler album, and they are listening to it on repeat, and I’m like…” Whaaaaat!”
Frontiers are well known for their collaborative projects, if you had the chance of being able to collaborate with anyone in the world on an album, who would it be?
So I would absolutely love to sing with two guys in particular; one would be Erik Grönwall, formerly of H.E.A.T, and the other would be Myles Kennedy. I’ve always wanted to sing with those guys, and one day it’s going to happen! It’s on my to-do list!
Good choices; Erik is an incredible performer, total sidebar though, but have you heard the new Myles Kennedy single that has just been released?
It was just released, a total masterpiece…
See, this is how much my head is in the clouds, I don’t even know when Myles Kennedy has released something! [laughs] I’ll be checking that out straight after this!
You will love it, an epic song, and one that really highlights his guitar-playing…
He’s an incredible guitarist, I love Mark Tremonti, but with Myles, his solos are way more melodic, I’m looking forward to it now!
Something else to look forward to is the return of live shows (hopefully), how is it going to feel stepping out onstage as Chez Kane the solo artist, rather than Chez Kane part of Kane’d?
Don’t! You’re making my tummy go just thinking about it now! Every time that I think about it, I’m like…” right, I’m going to be really confident, it’s going to be awesome…”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am confident, but there will be pre-show nerves as well, especially for the first show, but the adrenaline will give me a boost, and hopefully, I’ll perform well. It will go by really quickly and it will feel like I’ve only been on stage for five minutes!
There is so much riding on gigs coming back soon, not just from a punters point of view, but also for the fact that it’s artists and venue owners’ livelihoods that we’re talking about…
Yeah, plus the social side of it as well, I’m missing everybody! It’s a community and the rock community is always so friendly and I’m really missing that.
On the subject of community and support, it must mean so much that you have the full backing of your family? For instance, the last time that I caught Kane’d, your Dad had driven the band up to Glasgow from Wales and was then driving straight back down after the gig…
Yeah, they’ve been there from day one, obviously, music runs in my family, my dad is also a singer, and they’ve always been there, and always supported what me and the girls wanted to do. Even my brother is involved in music, he’s a sound technician, so he didn’t go down the singing route, but the family has always been so supportive.
Who would be the ideal act for you to open for?
So, I’ve been asked this a few times recently, I think that it would be pretty awesome if I could open for the band that got me into rock music in the first place, and that’s Def Leppard. I feel that my music would go so well with theirs, that would be insane. That’s aiming pretty high, but that would be my ideal support!
If Thunder can take out a smaller, local band on each night of their forthcoming arena tour then maybe Def Leppard might take the hint…
I do feel that the bigger bands should help push smaller bands, who knows, I might get asked! That would be awesome!
We can but hope. One last question; will Wales triumph at the weekend and win the Six Nations championship, or will France spoil the party?
I can’t say anything as I have some French fans!
I’m sure that they won’t mind, after all, rugby and Wales go hand-in-hand…
I’ve watched every game…I’m feeling confident…but France are playing well so it will be a tough game, but I think that Wales will just about take it! I’ll be watching it, screaming at the TV, so, fingers crossed!
Pick up the debut Chez Kane solo album, here.
Follow Chez on social media, here.
Interview – Dave